I have many websites which I constantly access thru my phone, but they aren't bookmarked on Google, they're just added to my homescreen as a web shortcut.

Of course Windows is something else entirely, but I could just go to Desktop folder and copy everything *.lnk, right? Thing is, now I'm migrating phones. I already migrated all apps I wanted to keep. I feel there should be an equivalent easy way to do this, even without an app. Is there?

2 Answers 2


Everything on the home-screen is organized by the configured "launcher" app. Therefore it depends on the used launcher.

Some advanced launchers include a functionality to export the complete launcher configuration including web-links and all the other launcher icons.

The default launcher is usually modified by the manufacturer hence it is difficult to say what it supports.

As a fallback mechanism you can try to create an backup of the launcher via Android Debug Bridge (adb). However this requires to

  1. Enable Developer menu
  2. Activate in the Developer Menu the Android Debug Bridge
  3. Connect your Android smartphone to your PC via an appropriate USB cable
  4. Install the ADB drivers and ADB on your PC
  5. Identify the package name of the used launcher
  6. Perform the backup on the command-line/terminal of your PC via adb backup <packagename of launcher app> launcher-backup.ab.
  7. Check the created file launcher-backup.ab if it is larger than a few kilobytes then the chance if good that the backup was successful

On the new device (or after a factory reset) you have to more or less perform the same steps. Just execute adb restore launcher-backup.ab as the last step.

  • 1
    I would like to add that if the browser through which the shortcuts were originally created is no longer installed and enabled in the target device the shortcuts won't be restored AFAIK. I had once created a demo web shortcut through Chrome. I disable Chrome and shortcut was gone even though Firefox was my default browser all the time. I enabled Chrome and the shortcut didn't come back.
    – Firelord
    Feb 14, 2021 at 20:10

This is an important question because there is a known bug which is still there by which website homescreen shortcuts can be lost at any point!

In MIUI by Xiaomi (if you use the stock system launcher and not a custom one which you can set up under Start screen) one can:

  • go to Settings -> About this phone -> Backup and restore -> Mobile devices -> Other system app data -> check System launcher -> click on the blue backup button. One can also configure automatic backups at the button in the upper right.
  • Once you have done that the data is backed up in the folder /MIUI/backup/AllBackup/

For restoring them:

  • If you transfer the file to a Linux computer you could run this in the console strings /directory/AllBackup/timestamp/Systemlauncher\(com.miui.home\).bak > ~/backupfile.txt to make the file readable with a text editor (open backupfile.txt with a text editor and replace "directory" and "timestamp" in the command) or strings /directory/AllBackup/timestamp/Systemlauncher\(com.miui.home\).bak | grep com.miui.home.launcher.DEEP_SHORTCUT and then open that with a text editor to search and replace all the same text after the titles to see just the titles of the website shortcuts.
    The problem with that is that the links aren't restored so you only see the titles of the websites which is better than nothing.
  • The better option for restoring is to run another backup and then going to Settings -> About this phone -> Backup and restore -> Restore -> only check Systemlauncher and then click restore. The problem with that is that it may not work. For me it didn't work. I had several pages of website homescreen shortcuts and after restoring I had additional pages but these were quickly removed so it seems like it's restoring but then deleting them again.

Here I asked how to restore lost website homescreen shortcuts.

MIUI is probably even worse than many other versions of Android so maybe something similar works better on another kind of Android.

Because of the bug mentioned above one shouldn't use website shortcuts and instead use Web browser bookmarks, a text editor app, or something else.

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